Goofy Goals

Goofy Goals

Sometimes it takes more than knowing something is the right thing to do to make me do the right thing. Maybe its a character flaw. Maybe I am on the fringe.

I think that I am just honest.  I know that running is great for me. And I love to run. It helps me to process the rest of my day and plan for what is ahead. But sometimes, only sometimes, I need something more than this knowledge to force me to press ahead.

In setting my mileage goal for 2012, I needed something more than just a number.  I ran 300 miles in 2010, my entry year into my newest obsession.  I followed that up with a goal for myself to run 500 miles last year. I signed up for a half marathon and started piling up the miles. I then was diagnosed with a hernia that required surgery and put me on the sidelines for a few weeks.  I ended 2011 with over 750 miles.

In thinking about this year, it would be easy to set a goal to run 1,000 miles, but honestly, I don’t want to put the pressure on myself to try to add 250 miles to last years number. I love running and don’t want mileage counting to be a burden. Where is the fun in that?

So here is the deal. Instead of setting a mileage goal, I decided to take a trip.  Not a literal trip. I can’t exactly take the next year off to run across the country.  But if I could, where would I go and what would I do?

The choice was quickly made.  My goal this year is to run to Indianapolis to see my beloved Colts win their conference and go on to win the Super Bowl (hey, this is my goal. A guy can dream). When I leave Indianapolis, I am going to head northeast to see the Cleveland Indians win the World Series (I know, another long shot).  That’s my goal for the year.  It will be about 850 miles when I get finished. Not an overwhelming increase, but a challenge nonetheless.

I will keep you posted on my progress each week.  After my five mile run yesterday, I have ran 75 miles for the year and have gone from my home in Rockmart to just the other side of Dalton, Ga.  Yes, I’m behind. But I building my base each week and with a marathon on the calendar for October, the miles will be coming later on.

It’s kind of goofy, I know. But my inner-nerd really likes to thinks it cool to check out my progress on a map each week and see where I am and where I am going.

Get started.

Resisting the Urge to Teach

I just finished reading The Walk by Shaun Alexander.  You may remember him as the running back for the Seattle Seahawks a few years back, or from his days at the University of Alabama before that.  After injuries led him to an early retirement from the NFL, he began to follow his true calling into ministry.  I must admit that I wasn’t sure what to expect from a book on spiritual growth written by a short-time running back. I am glad that my doubts didn’t prevent me from reading this book.

It isn’t my purpose here to give a review of the book, but rather to explain just enough of the book to share what impacted me so much.  It is also not my intention to over-spiritualize this post either. I think that many of the things that are true in our spiritual selves are also true in our physical selves.  “True for the body; true for the soul”, and it works both ways.

In a nutshell, Shaun takes the reader through the growth that each person experiences in a relationship with Jesus.  The stages are: Unbeliever, Believer, Example, Teacher, and Imparter.  Shaun explains the importance of  pursuing growth from each level to the next, but also shares the dangers of skipping levels in an attempt to grow at a faster pace.  Such is the case with me.  I could go into the laundry list of reasons why I do it, but I always struggle to remain at the Example phase and allow God to work.  I am prone to move from unbeliever to believer to teacher in almost a single step.  I rarely let the full effect of my new beliefs marinate in me long enough for them to really change me and prepare me to share them with others.

The real issue I think is that this fast-track method leads us to teach from our weaknesses, and not from a position of strength.  We are still so close to our old self, that we can’t lead beyond our minimal growth.  I can’t lead you to a place that I have never been.  I can only lead you to the place that I am.  That’s it.  No further.

I started running about 18 months ago and have run races ranging from 5K to a half marathon.  I am training for a marathon in October, but I can’t teach anyone to run further than a half, because I don’t know how the body will respond to the intense training required to lead you beyond that.

It’s true for everything major change in life.  Faith. Exercise. Diet. Family Issues. Work Issues.  I need to go there myself, and then reach back and pull people along with me as I push further myself.

Don’t get me wrong; I feel gifted to teach.  I took the Strengthsfinder assessment a few years ago, and my top five strengths are Restorative, Intellection, Connectedness, Relator, and Context. I have the ability to see problems and how they are interconnected and what the multiple root causes are, and my desire is to fix them.

The problem is that too often I don’t apply my strengths to my own life (it’s so much easier to see the problems in others) or I don’t develop the depth and maturity in an area of my life before I rush out to try to lead others.  Whether we are talking about spiritual growth, family leadership, running, healthy eating, or any other topic, I need to “soak” in the teaching myself before I attempt to lead others.

Many times, it is the change that other people see in us during the example stage that leads them to make changes in themselves. We don’t necessarily have to teach anything; just marinate.

But when the marination is done, then in the oven it goes.

I’ve got some big dreams that I hope to see realized one day.  Until then, I want to continue to press myself further into uncomfortable places and situations that develop me into the man who is prepared to go where he is supposed to go.

How about you?

Get started.

Unexpected Guest

My family and I made the trip to Florida this wekend to hang out with the inlaws. I hate the heat and humidity of coastal Florida,  but as it is mid February and the temperature outside was a pleasant 58 degrees, I decided to go for a 4-5 mile run this morning.

The first mile was brutal. I think that the combination of increased cross training, an 8 hour car ride, and sleeping on the couch for two nights, was working against me. It took about a mile and a half to get loose, but once I was loose, the cool temps, the breeze, and the flat terrain, made for a great run.

At least until the 2.5 mile mark. This was where my unexpected guest arrived: the dreaded intestinal issues. It turned my 5 mile run into a 3.13 mile walk/sprint back to their house.

It was amusing to me in the end. Just like the rest of life, you can’t plan for everything. You can’t control your circumstances. And many times, its the things that you can’t control that have the greatest
impact on your result.

That’s why we have to have so many at bats. Eventually, if we persevere, circumstances will work with us and our hard effort will be rewarded with success.

Get started.